Maoists demand halt to operations in Orissa-Andhra border

Bhubaneswar, Feb 20 (PTI) Maoists today demanded completehalt to joint anti-Naxal operations in entire Orissa-AndhraPradesh border region by security forces of the two states astheir handpicked mediators pressed for "more time" for therelease of Malkangiri District Collector and an engineer.

"Though Orissa government has stopped combing across thestate, joint operation by security forces of Orissa and AndhraPradesh must be halted," a Maoist leader said in a letterreceived by Malkangiri district administration.

On the deadline for fulfilment of their demands forrelease of 30-year-old Malkangiri Collector R V Krishna, a2005 IAS officer and junior engineer Pabitra Majhi, the lettersaid it was for Orissa government to decide when it would meetthe demands.

Expressing happiness over Orissa government joining theprocess of talks to resolve crisis following abduction ofKrishna and Majhi on Wednesday, the letter said the hostageswere safe and secure.

Meanwhile, the bail plea of Maoist leader Ganti Prasadam,whose release among others has been demanded by Naxals to freethe abducted collector, was rejected after he was brought fromAndhra Aradesh and produced before a magistrate here today.

Prasadam was sent to Koraput jail after Sub-DivisionalJudicial Magistrate rejected his bail application, a day afterordering his production before the court, lawyer of the Maoistleader Nihar Ranjan Patnaik said.

Prasadam, convener of Martyrs Friends and RelativesCommittee, arrested in November by Koraput police, had beentaken to Ongole in connection with a case there and wasbrought from Ongole Prison in Andhra Pradesh''s Prakasamdistrict, where he was lodged since February 7.

He was handed over to police last evening as OrissaPolice had secured a Prisoners Transfer (PT) warrant againsthim from Koraput SDJM, officials said.

"Following the court directive (PT warrant), we handedover Prasadam to police for production before the Koraputcourt," according to Ongole Prison Superintendent V Phaniraju.

In another development, Naxal sympathiser Varavara Raotold PTI over phone that the Maoists want complete dropping ofcases against certain key rebels like Prasadam and SSrinivasulu and not just their release from jails on bail.

He said about 700 tribals, now lodged in jails on chargesof being Maoists, should also be freed. (More) PTI COR AAM SKNCR

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